- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Two students have been elected as president and vice president of the school’s Student Government after running as a joke.

The Austin American-Statesman (https://atxne.ws/1GLZ4D4 ) reports that Rohit Mandalapu (roh-HEET’ mahn-DAHL’-ah-poo) and Xavier Rotnofsky (ZAYV’-yur raht-NAHF’-skee), demanded a Chili’s restaurant on campus, a penthouse at the top of the UT Tower and dressing Student Government officials in cellophane to promote transparency.

Every year, a handful of students run to mock the democracy of Student Government, but they usually do not get very many votes. The newly elected officials only received 27 percent of the votes during the general election, but they boosted their platform for the runoff election by using the dating apps Tinder and Grindr to spread their campaign message. Their campaign also trended on the social media app Yik Yak, an anonymous message board of sorts that allows people to share messages.

According to outgoing student body president Kori Rady, the two new student government officials have broken the mold by creating a platform that balances satire and real issues.

“They started off with the same expectations that everyone else had for them, which was, ‘We’re running a satirical campaign, and we will lose,’ ” Rady said. “Even from the beginning, their platform was infused with thoughtful points that people agreed with.”

The two students, who write for the school’s satirical publication, Texas Travesty, say they have plans to tackle serious issues at their university, despite running as a joke.

The students have drafted a bill to remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from campus and have testified at the Capitol against carrying concealed handguns on campus. They also want to create a video series with the new university president and increase diversity training in fraternities and sororities, as well as decrease the budget that students can spend on campaigns.

“People are kind of worried about what’s going to happen now that we’ve won. People think we’re going to burn Student Government to the ground,” Rotnofsky said. “We’re going to get work done and maintain a sense of humor about ourselves, because that’s what people responded to. We’re two smart boys. We’ll figure it out.”


Information from: Austin American-Statesman, https://www.statesman.com

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